The robes have become much more mysterious than they used to be, and that’s because I understand them more. What’s funny is that I don’t own a bathrobe. I don’t wear one. I don’t walk around in one. I never see bathrobes around me, nor do I see people wearing them. I don’t have a bathrobe to paint from. What I use is what I’ve used from the very beginning—a newspaper ad which I clipped out of the New York Times back in 1963. The ad shows a robe with the man airbrushed out of it. Well, it somehow looked like me, and I thought I’d make that a symbol for me. Those early robes were just about autobiography through objects. 

Jim Dine

Jim Dine

Works from the Collection of Gene Summers

Celebrated architect, artist and designer Gene Summers had a long friendship and artistic conversation with artist Jim Dine. The two first met in the 1950s in New York, where Dine was living and Summers was working for the offices of Mies van der Rohe on the Seagram Building. Summers became a major patron of Dine's work and amassed a large collection of his prints, paintings and sculptures; over the years, their artistic voices would inform one another on numerous projects. 

Gene Summers in front of Jim Dine's painting The Gate: Pershing Square. Photo: Collection Centre for Architecture, Montreal.; Dine working on reliefs for Summer's renovation of the Biltmore Hotel. Photo: Otis Art Institute.

Their most significant collaboration was the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles, which Summers had begun renovations on in the late 1970s. In 1981, he commissioned Dine to create carpets, mirrors, and plaster and metal wall-mounted reliefs to decorate the hotel. The following year, Dine returned to California to create an eight-and-a-half by seventy foot painting (his largest work ever) for Summers' architectural firm offices in Newport Beach. The Gate: Pershing Square, which depicts a long row of towering, expressive trees, was imbued with a highly personal touch by Dine; Summers' first project he ever worked on for Mies van der Rohe (whom was monumentally influential to Summers) was building model trees for the entirety of his summer internship. The two remained close friends and colleagues until Summers' death in 2011.